I’ve long resigned myself to the fact that What To Expect When You’re Expecting is basically a sh*t sandwich we all have to take a bite of, but every now and then I want to stand up and say, THROW THIS BOOK OUT THE WINDOW!
Yesterday, per chance, I opened the bestseller for the first time in years. And I was thrown right back by the very first page. If you scan it quickly these are the words and phrases you might catch, as they’re all in bold:
“WHAT YOU MAY BE CONCERNED ABOUT”
The Blood Test
The Medical Exam…
There’s the Vitamin Reminder where you’re told to “be sure” to take your vitamins. Yikes! Hope it’s not too late.
The one benign headline on the page is “The Home Pregnancy Test” but this segment includes lines like this: “The major drawback with the home pregnancy tests is that if a test produces a false negative and you actually are pregnant, you may postpone seeing a practitioner and taking appropriate care of yourself.” (My italics).
Welcome to pregnancy.
Do not trust yourself. Do not trust your body, manage it. You need exams, tests and diagnosis. You are sick and in need of immediate MEDICAL ATTENTION.
(Meanwhile, you go to the doctor on Day One and she’s like, What are you doing here? Call me in six weeks.)
The catatonic mom on the quilted cover of this pregnancy guide has been ushering us through an over-medicalized birth culture for decades now. I believe an earlier edition equated eating cake with smoking crack. This may have been a part of the famous “best odds” diet, a nutrition program that made expectant mothers feel like they were rotting fetal brains if they couldn’t stomach 5 servings of leafy greens a day. I once wound up in the hospital, strapped to monitors, after reading the section on counting fetal kicks. Holy cow, don’t even look at that page. My doctor thought I’d lost my mind when I showed up thinking the baby was dead. And then I told her I had been reading What To Expect and she sighed. Even doctors– who are so blatantly worshiped by this nerve-wracking best-seller– often find the book to be completely counterproductive for their patients. The message of the (crucial!) importance of getting prenatal care does not have to be delivered with the message that disaster is imminent.
OK. Vent over. But seriously, throw the book out the window. (The movie version is coming out soon. I’m assuming it will be of the horror genre.)
Any reasons you’d like to throw this book out the window? I’m all ears.
And PS, here’s a previous rant: What To Expect When You’re Expecting AKA Call The Doctor You’re Whole Family Is Dying.